The Hunter and the Wild Girl

Winner
Shortlisted
City of Victoria Butler Book Prize
2016
About this Work 

A feral girl roams the dense forests of nineteenth-century France, stealing food from remote farmyards and avoiding human contact. Seen on one of her thieving missions in the village of Freyzus, she is chased by suspicious townspeople to the edge of a deep gorge, where she jumps and disappears, vanishing into village legend.

On the other side of the gorge, in an abandoned estate, Peyre Rouff lives out his self-imposed exile. Following a horrific hunting accident, he now focuses all of his attention on intricate taxidermic dioramas, keeping his thoughts from wandering too close to the day he lost everything.

When Peyre encounters the wild girl, they find a link in their mutual estrangement from conventional society. He provides her with her material needs, while she brings light to places Peyre had thought dark forever. The two achieve an easy coexistence. But the careful patterns of the life Peyre has made for himself begin to unravel, and when the wider world learns of the girl's presence at the estate, Peyre is forced to confront not only his choices and their consequences, but society itself.

In The Hunter and the Wild Girl, award-winning author Pauline Holdstock spins a haunting tale affirming the persistence of life, the power of human connection, and the fundamental urge to be free.

Gooselane Editions
Fiction
Jurors' Citation 

Holdstock belongs in the long tradition of classic storytellers. What makes this novel enchanting is the oral, spellbinding quality of the voice, the steady building of character and unfolding of one revelation after another.

Pauline Holdstock
About 

Pauline Holdstock is the author of six novels, including Into the Heart of the Country, longlisted for the 2012 Giller Prize, and Beyond Measure, winner of the Ethel Wilson Award for Fiction and shortlisted for both the 2004 Giller Prize and the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize, Canada and Caribbean Region.